Young stars prepare to shine

Clockwise, from left: Daniel Downing, Rosie McClintock, Callum Burns, Alex Andrew, Allegra Wilson and Juliette McGowan polish their performance. Picture: GREG TOTMANPast and present students from Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts will be playing, singing and dancing for more than their supper tonight at the Regent Theatre, in Wollongong.Proceeds from the Starry Starry Night gala concert will go towards outfitting the long-awaited multi-purpose performance facility.Minister for the Illawarra David Campbell said he could not put a date on when the State Government would sign off on the $3 million in funding needed to build the 250-seat performance venue.However, Mr Campbell said the Government would honour its promise to deliver the long overdue facility within this term of government.The concert will feature performances by the next generation of TapDogs, Next Steps, and BlueScope Mercury Band Competition heat winners Lumiere, as well as a cast of well-known ex-students and present stars.Starry Starry Night organiser Louise Little said funds raised from the concert would go towards outfitting the new facility with a quality lighting and sound system.”We have already raised $15,000 through smaller fund-raisers and tonight’s concert will be a celebration of the success our students achieve and will give the kids a professional theatre to perform in – something they don’t currently have,” she said.The show, which starts at 8pm, will feature everything from original compositions, to musical theatre and rock performances.”We are really looking forward to getting a bigger performance space and the facilities to match the amazing level of talent that we have at the school,” Wollongong HS student Daniel Downing said.Tickets to Starry Starry night are $37, and will be available at the door today from 7pm.The school is also offering a buy-one-get-one-free deal.
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Specialist assesses Joshua

MAJOR SURGERY: Joshua CrispIt is hoped that assessment will give his parents Frank and Kathelynne Crisp, of East Devonport, a clearer indication of when he might be able to come home. Joshua is breathing alone after major heart and lung surgery and the focus now is keeping him free of infection.
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Maldon rail plan ‘doesn’tstack up’

NSW Minister for Transport and the Illawarra David Campbell says he supports completion of the Maldon-Dombarton rail link.But his views on when it should be built have put him at odds with other proponents of the project.”How could anyone possibly argue that it should be completed at this stage, because there is simply no freight to put on it,” he said.Mr Campbell’s comments came ahead of today’s release of the Illawarra’s submission for a share of the Infrastructure Australia Fund.Federal MPs Sharon Bird and Jennie George will launch the region’s “transport infrastructure – vital links for Australia’s economic future” at midday which includes a case for the completion of the freight rail link.Mr Campbell was reminded yesterday that re-opening the rail link mothballed by the Greiner Government in 1988 had been a promise made by Bob Carr in the lead-up to the 1996 election.But he said the former premier’s commitment was to provide $35 million if private business also stumped up part of the cost.”The private sector has never come forward and to date there has not been a business case that can stack up to use the proposed line for coal from the western coalfields, or any other product to or from Port Kembla,” he said.”I am the only person saying that because I am a realist.”As the Minister for Transport and the Illawarra the political task would be easy if the money was available.”However, the policy and funding realities do not align with the populist political wish.” His comments echo those he gave to a committee hearing at NSW Parliament in Sydney on Tuesday during a four-hour grilling on the region’s development.Mr Campbell believes the timing of any decision to complete the Maldon-Dombarton line may rest with further expansion of Port Kembla.
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